Pacheedaht members bless the canoe with cedar boughs to assure a safe journey. (Tim Collins/Sooke News Mirror)

Pacheedaht Canoe Blessing marks a return to Tribal Journey

The project will be the first time in 20 years that Pacheedaht have made the journey

After a nearly 20 year absence from the annual traditional canoe gathering of the Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Coast Salish First Nations, the people of the Pacheedaht First Nation are preparing to rejoin the celebration.

The traditional journey, which this year will take place between July 24 and 28, centres on canoe families paddling from nation to nation en route to a final host destination where they participate in a potlatch celebration.

This year that final celebration will be Lummi first nation, near Bellingham, Wash.

RELATED: Pacheedaht look to the future

On Saturday, the Pacheedaht gathered for a canoe blessing and launch ceremony where tribal elder Jimmy Chester led a ceremony attended by about 100 members of the First Nation as well as Chief Jeff Jones, “knowledge keepers,” and invited guests.

“This is a very important day for us and marks the return to our traditions,” Jones said.

“It’s a journey of more than 300 kilometres and this year we’ll be taking it very easy, downsizing a bit to make it easier. But this is something that we’ll be doing every year.”

The purpose of the Tribal Journey is to revitalize old teachings, share stories and traditions, and offer new learning between local elders and 12 local youths participating in this project.

With six months of Tribal Journeys preparations already underway, activities have includedworkshops on drum-making, cedar paddle making, cedar harvesting and weaving, canoe safety, teachings, and paddle practice.

The University of Victoria, School of Child and Youth Care assistant professor Dr. Sarah Wright Cardinal, is a Cree educator who lives in Sooke and is co-lead on the project.

“Indigenous resurgence is about Indigenous families, communities, and nations reclaiming their teachings and practices. In this project, we are working with youth, knowledge keepers, and Elders to support community wellness and to bridge this wellness with university learning,” she said.

Ceanna Jones is excited about the journey ahead. She’s in training for the tribal trek.

“It’s wonderful for me to be able to come back here and learn about our culture and traditions,” she said.

ALSO READ: Return of Jordan River lands

Funding for the project came as a result of a call to action resulting from the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which included the establishment of a national research program to advance the understanding of reconciliation.

In 2018, 115 Indigenous organizations and researchers were awarded SSHRCC grants to organize engagement activities and develop position papers to inform a national agenda aimed at strengthening Indigenous research capacity and the role of universities in that research.

Pacheedaht Nation and the University of Victoria’s Language, land, and healing: Youth stories of preparing for Tribal Journeys is one of these projects, which received a $50,000 grant.

“This sort of activity is incredibly important to the Pacheedaht and to all of the First Nations involved. It’s a way of rediscovering who we are as a people,” said Cardinal.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Revitalizing old teachings, sharing stories and traditions, offer new learning between local Elders and twelve local youths participating in this project. The three participating nations are known as ‘the canoe people’ who first made these journeys many years ago. 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Pacheedaht residents take a ride in the newly blessed canoe. The canoe will be part of Tribal Journeys, 2019. (Tim Collins/Sooke News Mirror)

Pacheedaht elder Jimmy Jones, left, leads the blessing of the canoe that will be used in Tribl Journeys 2019. (Tim Collins/Sooke News Mirror)

Just Posted

Two Scout leaders found near Sooke

The pair went missing Sunday afternoon

UPDATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

Police negotiating with people gathered in support of some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Crews respond to house fire in Langford Monday night

Fire near Glen Lake Road and Haslam Avenue

‘Not the monster everyone thinks’: Sister of human-trafficking suspect speaks out

Trish Kelly’s brother was one of four Vancouver Island residents arrested last month in Saskatchewan

Oak Bay ups deer management budget to $96,100 for 2020

Provincial grant approved for deer contraception program

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read